Amazon / Whole Foods an unlikely perfect match

Amazon / Whole Foods an unlikely perfect match

Amazon announced the purchase of the natural and organic food market Whole Foods for a total $13.7 billion Friday.

            The retail giant made the decision to purchase the market due to its attempt to break into brick-and-mortar stores according to an article previously written, ironic since several retail stores have been hurt by the success of Amazon.

            Dr. Douglas Olsen, an associate professor of marketing at Arizona State University, feels the pair is a beautiful fit. “Whole Foods has a positive image,” Olsen said. “Whole Foods cares about their customers a lot”. Amazon cares about their customers as well, along with being efficient, where Whole Foods is not known for that, according to Olsen.

            Long time Whole Foods shopper Joan Westlake, Mesa Community College Institutional Advancement, has mixed feelings of the purchase. “I am concerned that the Whole Foods dedication to organic, sustainable living might be damaged,” Westlake said. “However, I feel Amazon is more of a potential steward to that concept as opposed to some of the mega-food conglomerates who have purchased organic dairies in the past and then damaged the brand by not following organic standards and even trying to get them changed, for the worse,” she added.  

Amazon plans on keeping Whole Foods intact, according to CNN Money,  but recent developments on Monday announced its plans for cashiers and prices.

            An article written by Business Insider explained Amazon plans on replacing cashiers with technology that does not require a human operator and price cuts to make the products more affordable for lower and middle incomes.

            “Price is the easiest thing to compete on,” Olsen said. It is easy to change the price of items, but it’s the mindset of the higher price, better quality of food, which may cause Whole Foods to lose a little on that front but not much, he added.

            An alternative to just lowering the prices would be giving customers the ability to buy in larger bulk so prices are more affordable, Westlake said.  

            According to Olsen, Whole Foods has created a culture of its own. Westlake is a long time member of the unique Whole Foods culture and hopes that changes that Amazon creates do not stray too far from it.  Westlake said “Community involvement and local events are important.” in keeping with the culture.

            When the Whole Foods in Chandler was contacted about the speculated job cuts and the recent purchase, store manager shared that she was unable to comment on either.

Amazon is no stranger to groceries as they offer to Amazon Prime members the ability to shop for groceries and household products with Prime Pantry. “Prime Pantry allows Amazon to expand its selection and offer thousands of items to Prime Members that are cost prohibitive to ship for free individually,” according to Amazon’s website.

            “I enjoy shopping in person,” Westlake said. “I want to pick my own produce and find items on sale or special that you can’t see unless you are walking in the store. “I might use a delivery service if I needed something specific and didn’t have time to go pick it up…personal delivery is of no interest to me,” she added.

Amazon also hopes to open a series of Amazon Go stores, which is “…a new kind of store with no checkout required.” We created the world’s most advanced shopping technology so you never have to wait in line. With our Just Walk Out Shopping experience, simply use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products you want, and go! No lines, no checkout,” according to their website. The first of the stores opened in December in Seattle.

Westlake plans on continuing to shop at Whole Foods due to the wider variety of products they have, “They have some things you can’t find anywhere else and I find new things to like and enjoy when I shop,” she said. “ I see the leadership of two entities being visionaries and similar enough to mold Whole Foods into Amazon.”

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